In the decision letter that Jordan Peterson posted to his Twitter account, the College of Psychologists of Ontario wrote that “The College’s mandate is to regulate the practice of psychology in the public interest. As part of this mandate, the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) investigates concerns about members’ professional conduct.”
“In every matter, the ICRC considers conduct in light of possible risks to the public.”
The college also says they consider “both impact and recurrence risks. With impact risks, the Panel considers whether the conduct could negatively affect the public and the profession. With recurrence risks, the Panel considers whether any conduct of concern might reoccur.”
The college says the “Panel has identified some risks to the public regarding Dr. Peterson’s conduct” which primarily includes his Tweets and appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Two of the Tweets in question the college took issue with were “regarding public health restrictions related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The college also cited Peterson’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast as a professional conduct issue
In the report, the college described one of the issues as “disgraceful, Dishonourable, or Unprofessional Conduct”.
The second issue the college is taking up with Peterson is the “Provision of Information to the Public”.
The college went through Peterson’s public statements on Twitter and during the Joe Rogan podcast that they deemed “as being of particular concern”, which included seven cited concerns.
The college took issue with Peterson calling Justin Trudeau’s close friend and former adviser Gerald Butts a “prik.”
In response to the college, Peterson’s side said that “Dr.Peterson’s use of Twitter is not part of Dr. Peterson’s psychological practice. He is a public speaker and author; he does not diagnose his followers or readers.”
He also stated that his “professional obligations and ethical duties must be balanced alongside his personal rights and freedoms. The protection of freedom of expression is a basic and central tenant of any free and fair democracy, particularly as it applies to public debate and criticism.”
In his response to the college, Peter’s team also cited a Supreme Court of Canada case:
“The Supreme Court of Canada in Grant v Torstar, 2009 SCC 61, held that “freedom of expression and respect for vigorous debate on matters of public interest have long been seen as fundamental to Canadian democracy…all Canadian laws must conform to it.”“
He also implores the college that “The Misconduct Regulation and the laws under which the College is empowered to make and enforce Standards must conform to the constitutional right to freedom of expression.”
He also slams the college for trying to take issue with his stance on COVID-19 public health measures, stating that “Dr. Peterson’s tweets with regard to COVID mandates have nothing to do with the practice of psychology, are not unique to Dr. Peterson, and should not be censored.”
On a redacted portion, Peterson’s team argued that “while some may take offence to the words used by Dr. Peterson in his tweets, he has the freedom to express himself with respect to issues that have nothing to do with the practice of psychology without fear of reprisal.“
“Dr. Peterson acknowledges that some people may disagree with his comments and the opinions that he has. Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights in Canada, and one that Dr. Peterson cherishes. There is no misconduct or incompetence on Dr. Peterson’s part, his tweets are unrelated to the practice of psychology and cannot be interpreted as relevant to his professional conduct.”
In the College of Psychologists of Ontario’s determination, they say that the “Panel believes that Dr. Peterson’s conduct poses moderate risks to the public.”